It is one of my earliest films, yet 'The Promised Land' remains among my most beloved. This documentary, initially created in about five weeks' time for a local ABC-TV affiliate, won a slew of regional Emmys™, was nominated for a national Emmy award, and captured a Bronze Medal in the category of "International TV Programming" from the N.Y. International Film & Television Festival in 1992.
When it aired, 'The Promised Land' was the highest-ranked TV program in prime time, but most importantly, it raised nearly $500,000 in donations after its first showing - and just under $1,000,000 total. The donations went directly to transitional housing, veterans groups, Foodbanks and job training for the poor and homeless.
I was paid $900 for the privilege of producing this heartfelt film, but even in 1991, I realized how fortunate I was to have been chosen. I recall being given hundreds of letters from real viewers who scribbled notes on hotel memo pads and notebook paper and sent them in with their contributions. Reading those letters - between sobs - was life-changing. There was a businessman from Chicago who wrote from the Holiday Inn in downtown Cleveland, an elderly woman on a fixed income who sent a tattered $5 bill with the note "I wish I could do more," and six poor families from the East side of Cleveland who pooled their money and contributed $100 because "there but for the Grace of God go I."
I still get chills when I think of that one.
So you see, twenty years later, this film still touches me. I pray it will have a similar effect on you...and that you might be motivated to help the poor and the veterans in your community.
Kevin P. Miller
A few notices: in Part Three, you will notice footage from the classic "It's a Wonderful Life." When 'The Promised Land' was produced, "It's a Wonderful Life" was still in the public domain, and as such, the footage was used legally. Indeed, all footage and music contained in 'The Promised Land' was legally licensed through the ABC affiliate in 1991 - and all appropriate royalties were paid. It is being shown here not for commercial purposes, but as an example of my early work in film and video.
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